Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) have found a way to make fuels from sunlight and air. Now, Lufthansa Group companies are joining the scientists to help prepare these technologies for production on an industrial scale in the future. 

ETH Zurich found how to make liquid hydrocarbon fuels from water and with the help of concentrated sunlight. During the process, CO2 and water are extracted directly from ambient air and split using solar energy, according to the institute. 

The output of the process is a synthesis gas,which can subsequently be processed into kerosene, methanol or other hydrocarbons to be used as jet fuel in turn. This fuel releases only as much CO2 as was previously extracted from the atmosphere, as Lufthansa highlights.

On May 18, 2020, Lufthansa Group and ETH Zurich (and its spin-offs Clime-works and Synhelion) announced signing a joint Letter of Intent for a possible cooperation to ultimately help accelerate the market launch of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). 

Initially, Lufthansa Group subsidiaries SWISS and Edelweiss are planning to cooperate with the scientists in the areas of technology and economic efficiency. More importantly, the companies plan to settle for SAF quotas, although, only later. 

"In contrast to other modes of transport, air transport will depend on sustainable liquid fuels in the foreseeable future. Their market launch requires a joint effort by fuel manufacturers and airlines", Prof. Dr. Aldo Steinfeld, Professor for Renewable Energy Carriers at ETH Zurich, is cited in Lufthansa’s statement. "This Letter of Intent marks the intention of such a cooperation between ETH Zurich, the ETH spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion and the Lufthansa Group Airlines to jointly address the challenges involved. This is intended to support the energy turnaround in aviation."